The statistical evidence collected from the Safety Training Evaluation Program (STEP) provides the construction industry with vital insight into how certain elements of a safety program, when used correctly, can help transform a company from average to world-class safety performance. The six primary leading indicators that were used in the research can be considered six of the “core” leading indicators in use by many construction firms today. Therefore, they provide an excellent starting point for further investigation to determine the nuts and bolts of a truly world-class safety program for use by ABC members as the association strives to achieve its’ long-range strategic safety goal.
From the analysis conducted, we can confidently state that the “model” world-class safety program contains the following elements:
1) A new-hire safety orientation between 200-250 minutes in length that, in addition to the “traditional” safety topics (company policies and procedures, 29 CFR 1926 compliance requirements, PPE use, etc.), incorporates a cultural indoctrination led by the highest levels of senior leadership to reinforce that safety is a core value and above all else in the decision-making process
2) A site-specific safety orientation process regardless of company size or work type designed not only to introduce employees to specific requirements, hazards and work schedules on the site, but also to reinforce the culture and core values established during the new-hire orientation
3) Toolbox talks or other short-duration, topic-specific safety training conducted, at a minimum, on a weekly basis for all employees but, ideally, on a daily basis in order to reinforce safe operating procedures and concepts among all employees
4) Near-miss/near-hit tracking that includes a clear definition of what constitutes a near-miss/hit, education for all employees on how to conduct near-miss observations and encouragement/incentive to report them, and a root cause analysis method that is applied to each near-miss/near-hit case in order to determine cause and future abatement/elimination processes
5) Site safety committees that meet regularly, whose makeup is representative of the jobsite and who is empowered to provide feedback to management on safety policies and procedures in an open exchange of ideas
6) A substance abuse program with clearly-defined testing procedures and consequences, distributed to all employees and regularly revisited to ensure that all applicable local, state and federal statues are followed
To this end, ABC has created model resources for its’ members and the construction industry to use in implementing these elements. In addition to the STEP program and its’ 20 Key Components, which provide an implementation roadmap for companies to build an advanced safety and health program, ABC has created the STEP Plus Safety Excellence Academy (Safety Academy).
The Safety Academy provides an in-depth examination of the three pillars of a world-class safety program: leadership commitment to a zero-incident workplace, cultural transformation where every member of the organization, from CEO to laborer, understands and lives safety as their core value, and the systems and processes—such as the six outlined above—that are needed to ensure a functional, high-performing safety program.
ABC has also established the Safety Best Practices Portal (www.abc.org/safetybestpractices) – an evolving collection of best practices created and refined by ABC, its’ 70 chapters, members and strategic partners that provides the resources outlined in the STEP 20 Key Components of a World-Class Safety Program.
These resources, as well as others offered by Mid America OSHA (www.midamericaosha.org) are critical in helping companies develop a safety and health program that produces the only acceptable results—zero incidents. More importantly, they help establish the culture and commitment required to see that program development through to that result, and beyond. The data analysis within this report clearly shows that culture and commitment, when combined with leading indicator use, results in far lower lagging indicator performance than those companies without that same commitment.
As construction industry professionals, we all have a moral obligation to protect ourselves and each other, to ensure that anyone who sets foot on our jobsites does so in the safest manner possible. Through this analysis, and by identifying the elements that lead to improved safety performance, we can achieve our ultimate goal—to send every single construction employee home in the same—or better—condition than which they arrived, every day.